How Online Ads Keep Tracking You In Incognito Mode

How Online Ads Keep Tracking You In Incognito Mode
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Internet ads are so invasive that we can’t blame you for thinking that Facebook is listening to you talk. It’s probably not, but it is helping ad networks track you across the internet and across your apps. In 2018, tech public policy expert Chris Yiu tweeted 14 different ways that ads follow you around the internet, even when you’re logged out, in incognito, using a different browser, or on a new device.

One important one is Facebook’s trackers, which are embedded on any site that integrates Facebook “like” buttons, Facebook page widgets, or other social tools:

Yiu’s list includes a few ways to minimise personalisation. For example, you can reset your phone’s unique identifier:

Unfortunately, you can’t control all tracking—Facebook and Google can collect data on you even if you don’t have an account, by scooping up your friends’ phone contacts or by logging usual browser data.

This is the kind of invasive tracking and data collection that prompted the European Union to enact GDPR. So all those “we’ve changed our privacy policy” emails are a good sign—or at least a good start.

Reminder: 'Incognito Mode' Is Not As Private As You Think

Even when you're covering your tracks by opening a new incognito window, your web browsing history might not be as private as you think. Information about what you do online, down to every single URL, can likely be purchased on the web by anyone who wants it. And while in most cases people are making those purchases for marketing reasons, they could choose to use their newfound knowledge maliciously as well.

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